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[Comment] Closing the divide: the Harvard Global Equity Initiative– Commission on global access to pain control and palliative care

Access to palliative care—the prevention and relief of physical, emotional, social, or spiritual suffering associated with any chronic or life-threatening illness, beginning from the time of diagnosis—is at the core of the right to health and is fundamental to health care. Alleviation of all forms of pain and suffering, both acute and chronic, is an ethical duty of societies and health professionals.1,2 Yet most of the world’s population has little or no access to pain control and palliative care, forcing patients and families to endure a tremendous burden of avoidable suffering.